Miami-Dade Commissioners Vote Against Straw Poll On Mega-Casinos

The non-binding straw poll would take place on Jan. 31

Miami-Dade County commissioners voted against holding a straw poll for residents on Jan. 31 over the bill that would allow destination mega-casino resorts in their county.

Commissioners voted 8 to 5 and they said there ere just wasnt enough information on what the final draft of the legislation would be as it could change drastically by the end of the legislative session.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez also added that it appears the discussion over whether to have a straw pol has spurred the bill sponsors to include a ratification by the citizens of Miami-Dade

Commissioner Joe Martinez tabled the resolution on the straw poll, which wouldn't have impacted the decision on whether to allow the resorts, the legislature in Tallahassee will have the last word.

Senate Bill 710, which is sponsored by Florida State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, would allow up to three huge resorts with gambling into the Sunshine State. Embedded in the bill is a complete restructuring of the Florida gambling landscape. The destination resort bill, if passed, would place all gaming enforcement and regulation under a Florida Gaming Commission.

Strict gaming control, based on the Nevada model, would vett casino applicants and insure that all is on the up and up with the casino operations. Currently, Florida's gaming operations are overseen by several state agencies.

The highly controversial bill is expected to be voted on during the next legislative session.

"The legislature does what they do, so I also think they listen to the will of the people," said  Gimenez. "We also need a binding referendum afterwards if this bill passes on specifics of whatever the plan proposes." 

Martinez, the county commission chairman, said that sponsors of the bill recognize it may be prudent to have the bill ratified by the public if it is passed in Tallahassee.
Meanwhile, Frank Nero, executive director of the Beacon Council, a quasi-public local business promotion organization, said the bill won't only affect the gaming industry.
"If this passes in current form, it is going to have an impact on our ability to market non-gaming industries to come here," he said.
Contact Us